Thursday, May 14, 2015

AP, Review-Journal Miss Jeb Bush's Yucca Mountain Flip-Flop

The Associated Press and Las Vegas Review-Journalreported that GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush spoke out against the proposal to bury nuclear waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountain, without mentioning Bush's ties to a nuclear industry group that actively supports the project.

Speaking in Nevada on May 13, Bush told a group of reporters that Yucca Mountain will not likely become the permanent storage location for the nation's nuclear waste. The Associated Press story quoted Bush saying the project "stalled out" and reported that he "said the waste dump shouldn't be 'forced down the throat' of anyone." And according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Bush also said "we need to move to a system where the communities and states want it."

What the AP and Review-Journal left out, however, is that Bush is currently listed as a member of a nuclear industry group called the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy), which has long advocated for Yucca Mountain -- and continues to do so. As recently as February 24, CASEnergy published a blog postdeclaring Yucca Mountain a "scientifically safe and sound option" for storing nuclear waste permanently, and "a critical component" of the nation's shift to nuclear energy.

Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston first detailed Bush's ties to the pro-Yucca industry group in March, in a blog post in which he wrote that Bush "was once part of a front group for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the main lobbying entity behind siting a repository at Yucca Mountain." Ralston further noted that Bush "signed letters opposing interim waste sites," specifically pointing to a November 2006 letter that said Senate legislation backing interim storage sites would constitute "a step backward in the long-standing federal policy to establish a permanent disposal facility."   

Ralston also astutely predicted that Bush might have to address the controversial topic when he spoke to the Clark County (NV) GOP on May 13.

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository project, which would sit about 100 miles from Las Vegas, has long faced opposition from state and local government in Nevada, American Indian tribes, and the majority of southern Nevadans, who are concerned about the project's threat to public safety.

When Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was running for president in 2008, the New York Sun similarly reported that McCain said Yucca Mountain could be "unnecessary" -- while ignoring his previous support for it. 

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